The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Region 1 Sports Report M-F 4p-5p.
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Leach Report Weekdays, 8-9a
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
The Morning Tip-off with Michael Bennett weekdays 7-8
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
Kentucky Sports Radio, Weekdays, 9-11a
The Dan Patrick Show, Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
The Dan Patrick Show,  Weekdays 11a-2p
Here are scores from Thursday night's high school baseball and softball games featuring local teams.

Baseball

Marshall County 12, Clayton, MO 2 (6 innings)
McCracken County 3, Southside, AR 1
Calloway County 4, Carlisle County 2
Fulton County 12, Christian Fellowship 2 (6 innings)
Graves County 15, Dawson Springs 0 (3 innings)
Lyon County 3, Trigg County 2
Murray 17, Ballard Memorial 2 (4 innings)
Paducah Tilghman 10, Vienna, IL 0 (6 innings)

Softball

Calloway County 14, Crittenden County 6
Massac County 10, Graves County 4
McCracken County 12, Hickman County 0 (5 innings)
Paducah Tilghman 7, Ballard Memorial 6 (8 innings)
South Fulton 13, Mayfield 0 (5 innings)
With PJ Washington watching from the bench in a cast, second-seeded Kentucky romped to a 79-44 victory over NCAA Tournament newcomer Abilene Christian on Thursday night.

Keldon Johnson scored 25 points in a huge mismatch that was over by halftime. The Wildcats shot 60 percent in the opening period, held Abilene Christian to 5 of 26 from the field and went to the locker room with a 39-13 lead.

Even without Washington, who sprained his left foot in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Wildcats had far too many weapons for the Southland Conference representative, a No. 15 seed. Reid Travis added 18 points and Tyler Herro 14.

Kentucky advanced to the second round of the Midwest Regional on Saturday to face either Wofford or Seton Hall, who were playing in the final game of a long day in Jacksonville.

The big question: Will Washington be able to go?

Coach John Calipari tweeted before the game that a foot specialist confirmed the injury was only a sprain, not a fracture. But Washington certainly didn't look close to returning as he zipped around the arena on a scooter, a hard cast covering much of his lower left leg.

Kentucky could certainly afford to be cautious against their overmatched opponent in the opening round. Abilene Christian is also known as the Wildcats, but that was about the only thing these teams have in common.

The striking disparity — one of the nation's most storied programs vs. a small Texas school not far removed from playing in Division II — was best epitomized by the point guards. Kentucky started Ashton Hagans, a 6-foot-3 freshman who was one of the nation's top recruits. Abilene Christian countered with 5-7 freshman Damien Daniels, who struggled just to get up a shot and missed all five of his attempts.

Making the odds of an upset even more remote, Abilene Christian kicked two starters off the team for disciplinary reasons last month.

The biggest scare for Kentucky came with just under 2 minutes remaining when Nick Richards went down hard after getting his legs cut out from under him going for a rebound. After pounding the court several times in pain, he was able to get up, shoot a pair of free throws and finish the game.

BIG PICTURE

Abilene Christian: It didn't take long to figure out this team simply wasn't in the same class as Kentucky. But just making it this far was a victory for a still-fledgling Division I program. Jaren Lewis led the JV Wildcats with 17 points, the only player in double figures.

Kentucky: It's hard to get much of a gauge on Calipari's team with Washington sitting out and the opponent providing little more than a glorified scrimmage. The next game will surely be a much tougher challenge.

UP NEXT

Abilene Christian: Returns to Texas with a lifetime of memories and facing the challenge of replacing three senior starters.

Kentucky: Seton Hall would provide the Wildcats with a rematch against the team that handed them one of their two nonconference losses (the other was Duke). This is the ninth time in Calipari's decade-long tenure in Lexington that his team has advanced at least to the second round of the NCAAs. The only exception was 2013, when the Wildcats failed to make the field and settled for the NIT.

The game was in hand for Murray State and sensational point guard Ja Morant, who dominated Marquette in every way. With a chance to make some NCAA Tournament history, Morant's coach told him to hit the boards and grab the rebound that would push him to an elusive triple-double.

Morant went up for the ball, snatched it away from an eager teammate, and that was it. Murray State fans began chanting "Tri-ple dou-ble!" to celebrate an upset in the first round of the West Region.

Morant, a future NBA lottery pick, sliced through Marquette with 16 assists, 17 points and 11 rebounds as Murray State trounced the fifth-seeded Golden Eagles 83-64 on Thursday.

The triple-double was the ninth in the tournament since the NCAA started tracking them in 1987 and first since 2012. Murray State (28-4) continued a trend of 12 seeds beating 5s in March. It has happened every year but three since 2001, but this looked nothing like an upset. Murray State has won 12 consecutive games, including both the Ohio Valley Conference's regular-season and tournament championships for the second straight year.

Murray State was never threatened in the second half by Marquette, of the Big East. The Racers face fourth-seeded Florida State on Saturday in the West Region as the Racers next try to take down an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

Murray State, with Morant in its lineup, can always count on having the best player on the floor no matter who its plays.

"They'd be good without him, but with him, they're pretty unique," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said.

With 4:36 left in the second half and Murray State up 20, Morant grabbed his 10th rebound, pulling it away from Racers big man KJ Williams.

"I was going for it. I called it and he still tried to get the rebound. I just snatched it and said, 'It's my ball,'" Morant said with a smile. "Normally, before the game I tell him that every ball that goes toward the rim needs to be his. Just attack the glass. Sorry, I had to take that one from him."

The last player to record a triple-double in the NCAA Tournament was Draymond Green for Michigan State in 2012 against LIU-Brooklyn.

The lanky 6-foot-2 Morant this season has rocketed to stardom and into a sure-fire NBA lottery pick — maybe second only to Duke's Zion Williamson. He exceeded in the hype on the biggest stage he's played on this season.

The game was billed as a showcase of two of the nation's best point guards and Morant and Marquette's Markus Howard delivered plenty of highlights. Howard scored 16 in the first half on a mix of 3s off screens and hard drives to the hoop.

Marquette (24-10) promised to make Morant see walls of defenders. The Golden Eagles collapsed on Morant every time he went to the basket and often double-teamed on the perimeter instead of switching on screens. Time and again, Morant found an open shooter while surrounded by defenders. He had eight assists in the first half, five that led to 3-pointers for the Racers, who led 42-35 at the break.

"Sometimes he surprises me when he gets to the goal and gets everybody to jump and he still finds a way to get the ball to us," said Tevin Brown, who scored 19 points.

Howard finished with 26 points and Sam Hauser added 16 for the Golden Eagles.

As Murray State pulled away early in the second half, Morant had a two-handed slam off a nifty bounce pass from Darnell Cowart. Moments later, Morant fired a cross-court, no-look pass to Shaq Buchanan for a corner 3 that made it 57-40. Morant paused to glance toward the Murray State section and made finger goggles around his eyes. The sophomore seems to see it all on the court.

Morant said he'd rather be a playmaker than a finisher.

"Any day of the week; I'll take the assist 10 time out of 10," Morant said.

BIG PICTURE

Murray State: Morant had lots of help from his teammates: Brown was 5 for 9 from 3. Williams had 16 points, working in the paint and Buchanan added 14 points. The Racers shot 53.6 percent from the field and held Marquette to 32.4.

"Ja deserves every bit of credit he gets and then some," Murray State coach Matt McMahon said. "But we have a very balanced team."

Marquette: The Golden Eagles struggled to finish near the basket, had only six assists and simply had no answer for Morant. They finished the season losing six of seven.

UP NEXT

Murray State: The Racers are 1-2 in three meetings with the Seminoles, the last coming in 1998 when they lost to FSU in Honolulu.

Marquette: Did Howard play his last game for the Golden Eagles?

Minnesota found its elusive 3-point stroke just in time to give coach Richard Pitino the NCAA Tournament win he'd been seeking for years.

The 10th-seeded Gophers won their first NCAA Tournament game in six seasons behind 24 points from freshman Gabe Kalscheur, who helped Minnesota roll past Louisville 86-76 in the opening round of the East Region on Thursday.

The win for Pitino came against school that fired his father. Rick Pitino coached the Cardinals for 16 seasons before his 2017 dismissal.

"This wasn't about getting the win for coach Pitino. It was about getting the win for us in general and advancing to the next round," said Minnesota's Jordan Murphy, who scored 18 points. "That's what makes him happy, and that's what makes us happy."

Amir Coffey also had 18 points for Minnesota (22-13), which knocked down 11 3s despite entering play ranked 344th nationally in made 3s per game.

Five of those triples came from Kalscheur, who finished a point shy of his career high for points.

Kalscheur's layup early in the second half gave Minnesota its first double-digit lead, 43-33, and Murphy's layup made it a 50-38 game with 16:06 left.

The Cardinals went to a full-court press in an effort to slow down the surging Gophers. But that just left Kalscheur open from the same spot on back-to-back possessions, and he drilled two 3s to give Minnesota a 59-43 lead.

Louisville then fouled Kalscheur behind the 3-point line, where he pushed the Gophers' edge to 19 with 9:48 to go.

"I feel like they were giving it to us," Kalscheur said. "We just fed off each other."

Murphy's 3 with 5:28 left — just his seventh all year — made it a 15-point game and typified just how well things were rolling for Minnesota.

"I thought we played really good defense when we needed to. We showed great toughness and grit down the stretch," Pitino said. "You can't undersell it. That's a terrific win for our guys. Being proud of (them is) probably an understatement for these guys."

The seventh-seeded Cardinals (20-14) did cut it to seven late, but Christen Cunningham missed an open 3 that could've made things interesting down the stretch.

Cunningham led Louisville (20-14) with 22 points, and Steven Enoch had 14. The Cardinals finished the season with nine losses in 14 games.

"Really a tough feeling to end your season so quickly," Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "I am very proud of our group. They exceeded a lot of people's expectations."

THE BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: This was the breakthrough Pitino had been searching for from the Gophers. Minnesota played arguably its best game of the season, and Kalscheur scored more points in 40 minutes than he did in three games during the Big Ten tournament.

Louisville: Despite dropping his first NCAA Tournament game with the Cardinals, Mack's future looks bright at Louisville — especially if Jordan Nwora (10 points, 11 rebounds) returns next season. Louisville got no help in the game location, less than 250 miles from Minneapolis, which created a de-facto home game for the Gophers. Louisville did have one famous fan on its side though, as actor Bill Murray watched from behind the Cards bench. Murray's son Luke is an assistant at Louisville.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

With 2:46 left and Louisville down 12, Darius Perry banked in a long 3 as the shot clock went off. The officials confirmed it after a video review, making it 76-67 Minnesota. Perry followed with a 3 to pull the Cards within seven, but Minnesota's ability to navigate Louisville's press without putting the ball in danger rendered Louisville's comeback hopes moot.

WHO NEEDS A BENCH

Minnesota didn't get a single point from its bench, becoming the first team to win a first-round game since Norfolk State stunned Missouri seven years ago.

UP NEXT

Minnesota plays the Michigan State-Bradley winner on Saturday with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.

James Harden did everything he could to bring the Houston Rockets back from a big deficit in the fourth quarter. He got them to overtime, but his 57 points weren't enough.

All because of a last-second free throw.

Mike Conley scored 35 points and Jonas Valanciunas had a career-best 33, including the game-winning free throw with less than a second left as the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday night.

"We put ourselves in a hole and tried to pick it up, but it was too late," Harden said. "We were down (17), so I had to do something."

Harden led a 17-2 Houston rally in the fourth — scoring 15 points during that stretch — to pull the Rockets to 106-104. He hit three free throws with 4 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime tied at 115.

Harden scored all 10 points for Houston in overtime and the teams were still tied at 125 when Clint Capela fouled Valanciunas with 0.1 seconds left. Valanciunas, who also had 15 rebounds, made the first of two free throws. The clock ran out after he missed the second foul shot.

Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists for Houston, which had won three straight. Capela added 14 points and 10 rebounds. The loss was only Houston's second in the last 14 games.

"It was one of those games. Every once in a while it crops up," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You've got to go on. It's too bad, but we just kind of threw that away."

Memphis dominated the game through 3½ quarters until the Harden-led comeback. Conley made all six of his shots, including a quartet of 3-pointers, in the first quarter. Valanciunas made all nine of his shots in the first half.

But despite the double-digit lead into the fourth, the Grizzlies had to weather Harden's 28 points after the third quarter.

"It got crazy there for a little bit," Conley said. "That was a fun game. It's the kind of game you want to be a part of — big plays, big opportunities for everybody. The way it ended was wild.

"I'm just happy we got away with a win."

TIP-INS

Rockets: Harden's 57 points were just short of his career-best 61 against the Knicks on Jan. 23. . Eric Gordon (rest) was given the night off, and Kenneth Faried sat out with left knee soreness. ... Harden's streak of five straight double-doubles ended. ... Houston made 21 3-pointers, the most by a Memphis opponent this season and second-most in Grizzlies franchise history (23 by the Pistons on April 8, 2018).

Grizzlies: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, signed recently by the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football, attended the game. ... Conley has scored at least 20 points in six straight games, matching the longest such streak of his career. ... Memphis recorded no blocks for the first time this season.

BAD START

Houston had little answer for the Grizzlies early as Memphis built the lead to 19, making 74 percent of its shots in the first quarter, including going 7 of 11 from outside the arc. "We weren't doing anything," Harden said. "Defensively they were getting what they wanted. Offensively we weren't being aggressive. The fourth quarter and overtime we played well."

BOARD WORK

Memphis outrebounded the Rockets 50-39, and that included a 14-11 edge on the offensive glass — the key one coming by Valanciunas that led to the game-winning foul shot. "They had been kicking our butt all night," D'Antoni said, adding: "We didn't play with a lot of force for a long time."

SPOILERS

The win was Memphis' fourth in the last six games — three of the four against teams in the Western Conference playoff race. The fourth was over Orlando, which is just outside the postseason picture in the East. "It's not like, 'Oh, they're a playoff team, we want to play better,'" Grizzlies guard Delon Wright said. "We're just trying to win every game. It just so happens that we're beating the playoff teams."

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Grizzlies: At the Orlando Magic on Friday.